Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Her Real Mom
The words came tumbling out one day a couple months ago. I knew they would eventually. I guess I expected to hear them in anger when I'd done something she didn't like, but that's not how it was. There had been an intense couple weeks where my daughter, adopted as a 3 year old and now 5 years old, wanted to talk a lot about Ethiopia and began sharing more than ever before about her life before us. During those intense few weeks, triggered by I know not what, we had several really good but hard conversations. I was thankful for the new level of bonding, but also emotionally exhausted!
And then it came from the backseat one afternoon as I drove her to gymnastics, my 5 year old daughter said very matter-of-factly, "You know you're not my real mom."
Whoa. Deep breath in, and out, quick prayer. And the decision only enabled by God,"I am not going to take this personally!"
I responded in just the same matter of fact tone she had used and assured her that while I was not her birth mom, I was in fact her real mom.
We'd used those terms many times before but you never know what a child is really understanding and they process things differently at different ages. We talked more and I truly believe she just wanted some reassurance about my role in her life. Her comment was not intended to hurt me and it was not a reflection on my performance as a parent or our degree of bondedness, but I could have easily taken her comment any of those ways. I could have gotten my feelings hurt and in the midst of my pity-party or anger, missed the opportunity to react in a way that nurtured my girl.
It's not easy, y'all, when you have poured so much into a child and then to hear that, but trust me, it is much better if you can repeat the mantra inside your head, "It's not personal. It's not personal." and then set to the business of seeing your child's heart and addressing the real reason for the real mom comment.
Hugs to all you real mamas out there! Anybody ever seen a fake mom?